Heirloom Beans Recipe

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Photo by Kerry Michaels

Dried beans are practically magical. They are inexpensive and filling, and can give a hearty boost to many recipes. You can even combine them with rice for a complete protein. If there’s one downside they have, it’s the time. Chances are, you reach much more for canned beans than dried on a daily basis — so why not can your own? While you can certainly use any dried beans you have on hand for this recipe, I recommend seeking out an heirloom bean to elevate this pantry staple. There are so many bean varieties you can order these days, and most are not available as canned beans in the grocery store! It is not necessary to add the salt pork or bacon, but it’s a great way to infuse additional flavor into your beans and separate them from their store-bought counterparts. If you omit the salt pork or bacon, add a little salt, or not, depending on how you like to use your beans in recipes.

These beans require an overnight (12-hour) soak before you’re ready to cook and can.

Processing time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
Pressure: 10 pounds weighted gauge, 11 pounds dial gauge
Yield: 3 pints


  • 8 ounces dried beans of choice
  • 1/2 cup cubed salt pork, or 1/4 pound good bacon, cut into bite-size pieces (optional; see headnote)

Photo by Kerry Michaels


  1. The night before you want to can, place the beans in large pot and cover them with warm water. Soak the beans, covered, for 12 hours.
  2. Drain the beans, return them to the pot, and cover them with fresh water. Cook over medium-high heat until they begin to boil. Stir and continue cooking the beans according to the package directions, but stop just short of cooking them all the way through.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare 3 pint jars and the canner: Clean the jars and prepare the 2-piece lids according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Keep the jars in hot but not boiling water until you’re ready to use them. Prepare the canner by filling it with 2 to 3 inches of water and bringing it to a simmer, or according to your manufacturer’s directions.
  4. Meanwhile, bring 1 quart of water to a boil in case you need more hot liquid to top up your jars. (Some beans absorb more water than others while cooking.)
  5. Divide the salt pork, or bacon, evenly among the pint jars (if using).
  6. Carefully ladle the hot beans into the hot jars. Pour the hot cooking liquid over the top, leaving 1 inch of headspace. If the cooking liquid does not go far enough, add the hot water to top up to the proper 1-inch headspace.
  7. Remove any air bubbles with a plastic or wooden utensil, adding more hot liquid as needed to maintain the proper 1-inch headspace.
  8. Wipe the rims and seal the jars hand-tight with the 2-piece lids.
  9. Carefully transfer the filled jars to the rack inside the pressure canner. Process the jars at the pressure listed above for 1 hour, 35 minutes.
  10. Let the canner return to 0 pounds pressure. Wait 10 minutes more, then carefully open the canner lid according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  11. With a jar lifter, remove the jars and place them on a clean dishtowel away from any drafts. Once the jars cool to room temperature, check the seals. If any jars have not sealed, refrigerate them and use the beans within 2 weeks. Label the remaining jars with the recipe name and date before storing. 

More from Modern Pressure Canning

Whether you’re looking for tried-and-true recipes, or instructions for safely using your pressure canner, you’ve come to the right place! Modern Pressure Canning is a one-stop resource for safely and deliciously preserving your vegetables, fruit, meat, and more. Author Amelia Jeanroy (The Farming Wife) provides a comprehensive explanation of the equipment you’ll need, and how to implement it. Recipes are organized by topic, so finding just what you want is a breeze whether it’s fruit pie filling or a soup stock. Try out a classic like dilly beans, tomato sauce, creamed corn, applesauce, or turkey soup! Want to get creative? Try canning pumpkin bites, rhubarb sauce, or green tomato chutney.

Reprinted with permission from Modern Pressure Canning: Recipes and Techniques for Today’s Home Canner by Amelia Jeanroy and published by Voyageur Press, 2018.

Mother Earth Gardener
Mother Earth Gardener
Expert advice on all aspects of growing.